Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Greener California

Automobile enthusiasts around the country have dubbed California legislators as the “Emissions Nazis.” California legislators earned this nickname because in 2002 they passed laws that greatly restrict the emissions of automobiles. They also require that, by 2016, car manufacturers must reach a 30% reduction in emissions in their vehicles to sell them in California. The opponents (car manufacturers) claim that this is unfair because federal law says that it is up to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set gas mileage standards. California legislators reacted to this by saying that they are not regulating fuel economy; rather they are controlling air pollution for the good of their people.

I think that California is well within their right to limit air pollution in their state. However, I do think that what legislators are doing is ridiculous. I grew up in New York City, and was both there, and in California, this past summer. I did not feel any healthier in California than in NYC. In fact, I did not notice any difference, whatsoever, in air quality. If the legislators actually had a way to measure air pollution, and determined that pollution from automobiles was harming their population then their emissions rules would be justified. However, I have never heard to people living healthier in California than in other states. However, I have heard that people will pay more for cars in California. And this is not just hear-say, this is a fact. In order to comply with emissions standards by the year 2016, consumers will most likely have to purchase vehicles such as hybrids. These vehicles are much more expensive than comparable, non-hybrid, cars. In a nutshell, what will happen is people will spend several thousand dollars more for a low emissions car, and never really see any benefits. In this case, California’s use of command and control policy, is providing no benefits to its population and will eventually cause them to have to spend more hard-earned money on cars.

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